Last week, we told you the (somewhat) surprising news that Rockstar would be bringing the classic Grand Theft Auto III to iOS and Android platforms to celebrate the franchise's 10 year anniversary of entering the world of 3D, and thus changing the open-world sandbox genre forever. At the time, Rockstar noted that the game was only planned for dual-core processor-based devices, due to the strain that running a huge open-world game would have on lesser mobile hardware. On the iOS side of things, that meant that only the iPad 2 and the brand new iPhone 4S would be able to run GTA III thanks to their dual-core A5 chips.

Of course, there are far, far more GTA fans than there are A5 device owners, and there was quite a backlash from gamers with older devices who were understandably upset that they wouldn't be able to get their carjack-on without upgrading their kit. However, over the weekend Rockstar has been showing off GTA III for mobile devices in playable form at the New York Comic-Con, and in fact they have confirmed to Kotaku that the dual-core processor requirement will only be a limitation at first, and that they're planning on having the game be compatible with single-core iOS devices sometime after launch.

Now, before you go getting too excited, they don't specifically state which single-core devices they intend to target. It may just be the iPhone 4, since it's the only other device with 512 mb of RAM, which could be a deal breaker for the iPhone 3GS and 3rd and 4th generation iPod touch. We really don't know at this point, but at least the compatible device listing will be increasing in some capacity, which is a good thing.

Speaking of GTA III at NYCC, one adventurous attendee decided to muster up some courage and take a little video of himself playing the game on an iPad 2 demo unit. So far, it looks like the GTA III that we all know and love from 10 years ago:

Chances are pretty good that this video was not taken with the permission of the Rockstar reps on hand at the convention, so don't be surprised if the video ends up disappearing sooner rather than later. But for now, it's a nice glimpse into what GTA III will be like on mobile. Also, though it's hard to tell from this shaky video, various other outlets' hands-on impressions of the demo build so far all state that the visuals have been given the high-res treatment, or at least as high a resolution as a 10 year old game can have. This leads me to believe that the GTA III we end up getting on iOS is based off of the superior Xbox version, though that's just a bit of speculation on my part.

GTA III is scheduled for a Fall release, and if it's anything like their launch of Chinatown Wars on iOS, we may be seeing the game incredibly soon, as that title popped up just a few short days after they were showing off preview builds to the media. That's more speculation on my part, but I remain hopeful. Until the game actually does launch, feel free to check out our forums where GTA III: 10th Anniversary Edition is getting a healthy amount of discussion.

Update: The fine gentleman who filmed the above video, Raymond Wong, has reached out to us to clear up a couple of assumptions on my part. First off, the Rockstar rep was right there as he was filming and seemed to have no problem with it. Apologies for thinking there were shady pretenses around the filming of the game, Raymond. Secondly, there's a bit of confusion as to which version of GTA III the iOS version is based off of. One Rockstar rep claimed that it was an upscaled version of the PS2 game, but then a different rep later said it was based on the PC game. I guess we'll find out soon enough, and really, as long as it looks good I really don't care which version it stems from.

Finally, the build in the above video is supposed to have camera control via swipes, but Raymond didn't notice it while playing. Also the final build should have an accelerometer control option for driving, but didn't at the time of the demo. Thanks again Raymond for getting in touch and clearing up these things.

[Via Kotaku and our forums]

  • Anonymous

    mind blown

  • Anonymous

    I'm cautiously optimistic. I played the HELL out of this game 10 years ago and would love to revisit Liberty City but....not so sure about the touchscreen controls.  It was fine and dandy for the Chinatown port but this is one seriously complicated game.  It used nearly every button the the PS2 controller!  I wonder how well that will translate to a touchscreen.

    I look forward to your hands on impressions Touch Arcade!

    • Sam

      I can see where you're coming from about controls, but don't forget that the buttons probably change corresponding to what you're doing - i.e when you get in a car.  You don't really need all those buttons at the same time.

      • Anonymous

        Assuming I play this game, I dont care. GTA IV was the first game that had controls I actually felt comfortable with (more or less).

    • David Nguyen

      Rockstar hasn't disappointed me yet and I doubt they'll start with this one!

  • Anonymous

    This was an awesome Xbox game. Can't wait to play it again

  • Aaron G

    I wish this was San Andreas, rather than the original GTA III. The series made leaps and bounds improvements after this one with regards to story, graphics, and scale. Oh well, let's hope that comes soon.

    • Chris Aanerud

      I'm sure they will port all of them as long as the sales are good. Rock$tar likes to print money by rehashing old games (as do most smart companies).

  • Anonymous

    The release date of the original PS2 GTA III seems to be October 22, 2001 when it was released for shipment and October 23, 2001 when it was available in stores. Those dates are a bit inconvenient since they are weekends this year, but if they are taking the 10 year anniversary literally, it'll be out in the next week or 2.

  • Dr. Mark Lipschitz

    I want VICE CITY!

    • Anonymous

      2 years later: I want SAN ANDREAS!

      • Anonymous

        San Andreas is the best GTA...even better than 4.....

  • Josiah Wilson

    Was GTA III really that empty? I only played Vice City and San Andreas and they were both MUCH more heavily populated than that video. Both pedestrian population and traffic seem absurdly low.

    • Josiah Wilson

      Wow, it looks like the game world really was that barren:

      • Anonymous

        From what I remember, the world actually populates in real time.  In that video it's 12AM; by like 7AM there are a lot more people on the street and driving around.

  • Anonymous

    I'm more exited for Gangstar Rio, which if coming out this Thursday.

    This game probably is better, but I don't have a dual core processor.

  • Anonymous

    Wow this looks awesome...It looks like its running off an Android tablet. I could be wrong...

    • Raymond Wong

      It's off an iPad 2

    • Anonymous

      Yeah it doesn't even look like an Android tablet, unless Samsung really did copy everything about the looks of the iPad.

      • Anonymous

        Don't start please....The Galaxy Tab doesn't look anything like the ipad...

      • Joe T

        Why did you get it confused with the Galaxy then?!?!

  • BulkSlash

    It's a pity if this isn't based on the Xbox version as that version included some graphical enhancements that weren't in the PC version. There was more advanced lighting, the cars had extra polygon detail applied to make the bodywork smoother, in cut-scenes the pointy "lobster claw" hands were replaced with more realistic looking hands and the weather effects were much improved, including reflective roads and rain drops when raining.

    The only drawback of that version of course was that it only ran at 480p and 30fps compared to the HD resolutions and 60fps the PC version could run at. I'm hoping that this port will be a mixture of the two!

    At any rate, I'm really glad Rockstar aren't forgetting the iPhone 4! 🙂

  • Sander Nemvalts

    game might not run on 256 mb devices. Apple and rockstar are literally pissing @ my face on this one

  • Anonymous

    My question is why they'd be targeting only the ipad 2 and the new iphone 4S just weeks after it's inception and not hit at least the regular 4th gen. devices to start with? That's just ridiculous.

    • Tashawn brawner

      "On the iOS side of things, that meant that only the iPad 2 and the brand new iPhone 4S would be able to run GTA III thanks to their dual-core A5 chips."